Could North be the answer?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 13 Sep 2013 at 09:40
Tagged with : , , , ,

This really isn’t going to be a detailed piece – really more a fact-finding mission to gauge how fans would feel; perhaps it will lead to a detailed piece next week.

There’s obviously been a lot of talk of late about the ongoing re-negotiation of competition structures within SANZAR, with further Super Rugby expansion pretty much inevitable after 2015, given SARU’s insistence on a 6th franchise. This comes against the backdrop of English and French clubs turning their back on the Heineken Cup and insisting that they will go it alone with their own competition, which could potentially include teams from other parts of the world.

Two and two has duly been put together by many people – most of them far more on-the-ball than I am – and the inevitable possibility that raises its head is a complete break from SANZAR and Super Rugby for our teams, in favour of rather joining a competition involving said English and French sides.

That’s as much as I’m going to say on the topic for now. The question for you, at a very high level, is this? What do you think?


  • For me the SupeRugby format has become stale. I would love to see the Sharks tackle Toulon and Saracens. Games like that will be just as exciting as eg. Sharks vs Reds games.

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.09.13 09:58:47 by KingRiaan Reply
  • A North/South Comp will only be feasable if there is a global season. The travel factor to the UK would be less than a trip to Australasia. Sponsors and TV rights could be negotiated-anything is negotiable these days. Would a North/South Comp make playing for a UK/French based team more or less attractive than it is now? I would like to think less attractive perhaps. Also would such a comp then make it easier to pick overseas based guys for the Boks, perhaps.

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.09.13 10:08:04 by SheldonK Reply
  • I think that there should be a questionnaire amongst the SA rugby public… Cause I believe the bulle manne sal se dis kak SR is the thing!!! while us sharkies en quite possibly all other teams will feel it has become just too much kak rugby.
    I think that it probably depends on who’s perspective you take?
    Sure we all want to test yourself against the best? But the format of SR has become just plainly quite kak for me. IT was Great in the old days… short tough games for 3mtnhs and then it’s over. Guy’s could rest and recharge for international as well as the CC!
    Just my opinion here…

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.09.13 10:08:53 by R Hayward Reply
  • I would really like this to happen. Tired of seeing us constantly playing the same guys all year round. I’m sure that our unions would get more money from a competition with Fr and Eng, which in turn means it would be easier to hold onto our best players. I’m sure this would also boost the Rugby Championship to new heights.

    Jet lag no longer a factor and better TV times. Not sure how it works but surely this would mean better deals as more viewers.

    Obviously the most important factor to consider is that I’d be able to see my Sharks live! Seeing as I occupy the very center of the cosmos and that the very structure and integrity of the space-time continuum hinges on my well-being. 😉 The last time I saw them was when we played the Crusaders at Twickenham.

    side note: Saracens vs Sharks. AWKWARD!

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.09.13 10:23:42 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Can’t see it happening.

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.09.13 10:24:40 by McLovin Reply

  • I would suggest two teams to the North and four teams in Sanzar competition. And they rotate each year. We would keep both competitions interesting and give all unions access to the Euro. Also it would be easier to accommodate a smaller number of teams, than the whole six.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.09.13 10:28:58 by rumblo Reply
  • I’d imagine something like this: Rugby
    21/9/2019 SARU Comes Crawling Back

    Big news from Wellington this morning, where the first discussions were held on whether to re-include South Africa in the Rugby Super Cup (formerly Super Rugby) after the next expansion in 2021

    South Africa made waves in late 2013, when they announced they will be departing from Super Rugby after the 2016 season, to join with Argentinian, French and English clubs in a new cross-equatorial rugby tournament.

    The first season of the new SAFEA Championship drew tremendous support, with all 4 nations posting record live- and television viewers, but by the halfway mark, it was clear there was only ever going to be one outcome. Stade Francais joined the Bulls, Sharks and Cheetahs as the only non-SA team in the semi-finals, losing to the Bulls at Loftus. The Sharks demolished the Cheetahs in Durban to set up what has since become known as ‘the massacre of Pretoria’ where the Sharks emerged as 33-31 victors, and were crowned the first ever SAFEA Champions

    Season 2 was no different, and viewer numbers began to fall sharply as a result, with only local derbies still drawing decent attention. In the end, the Bulls claimed revenge after beating first Leicester Tigers, and then the Sharks, this time in Durban

    This year has seen some of the stadiums recording their lowest ever supporter numbers for a top-flight tournament, and the cracks began to show when the Stormers announced they would be sending what is effectively a B-team on their first tour of England and France. Many teams followed suit, and the quality of rugby in some of the cross-nation games this season has been nothing less than appalling!

    With all the weakened teams taking part, there has been some shuffling in the finals, with defending champions, the Bulls, losing to Stade Francais in the semi-finals, where their team showed clear signs of rust and a lack of settled play. The Sharks managed to scrape past the Stormers to set up another final in Durban, where they dispatched the French with relative ease to win their second title.

    And now enough seems to be enough, with SARU begging to be let back into the Southern Hemisphere’s premium club tournament. Discussions are still ongoing on if and how to accommodate them, and we will keep informing you as new information becomes available

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.09.13 10:32:20 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 7) : From the Heineken cup games I’ve seen I honestly don’t think there is much of a difference to Super Rugby. There is huge intensity in those games and the guys really put their bodies on the line. The crowds are also very passionate and stadiums get an amazing amount of supporters.

    As FireTheLooser pointed out to me, we generate by far most money into Super Rugby, even if the scenario above did unfold they would be the ones begging for us to come back.

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.09.13 10:45:22 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I’m heading North! 😎

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.09.13 11:12:16 by Son Of Mayhem Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 7) : I would love it if we could arrange some friendlies, just to gauge the level of competition for ourselves.

    Yes, we all assume that the Sharks would thrash Sarries, the Bulls would trounce Leicester, etc, but let’s not forget how poorly a Bok second-string side did against these clubs when we toured there a few years back. Perhaps the gulf in class is not quite as big as we think.

    Picture the current Bulls pack scrumming against a fired-up Castres or Perpignan in France? I know who my money would be on…

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.09.13 11:14:01 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I know I would like to rather see us going north,SR have become stale,meaningless,too many derbies…I cant stand the thought of playing a CC for 7 months and starting again with one other team! This conference system has killed SR in 3 very LOOOOONG years,its become boring…(words I never thought I would use describing Superugby!!) 😥
    Is north the right answer? I dont know,but it HAS to be better than this current [email protected]!

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.09.13 11:24:27 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • A common mistake made by many in the SH is to think that because NH test teams are weaker than their SH counterparts, therefore the club teams are also weaker. The top NH sides are loaded with foreigners who aren’t eligible to play for the country they’re in. Top club/provincial sides in NH and SH are pretty much even.

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.09.13 11:28:30 by McLovin Reply

  • I don’t like it. I love the idea of the Southern Hemisphere competition. I have never managed to get bored of SR. Ask yourselves this: are you sure you aren’t just bored because the Sharks played like shit this year?

  • Comment 13, posted at 13.09.13 11:46:55 by David12246 Reply

  • The question that really needs to be asked here is, “Will the NH teams be interested?” The SA teams are already used to travelling to and Australasia, although they don’t enjoy the travel it’s something they’ve become accustomed to. Now, look at it from a NH team’s perspective. At present they undertake flight times of a maximum of four hours Ireland to Italy. Why would they all of a sudden want to travel between 11 and 14 hours to go and play?

    It has been mentioned that broadcast deals would make it attractive and yes, the clubs would make lots of money, but I suspect the players unions up north would oppose any North/South comp

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.09.13 11:57:11 by Jacques Venter Reply

  • @David12246 (Comment 13) : that’s a valid question

  • Comment 15, posted at 13.09.13 12:03:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • An alternative (I just came up with this, so a very rough idea still)

    Stay in SR, let the Northerners do whatever it it Northerners do, and have a cup between the top 4 Southern and top 4 Northern teams (UEFA style knockout)

  • Comment 16, posted at 13.09.13 12:04:35 by Die Kriek Reply

  • I’m just tired of seeing us playing derby matches against the same opposition 4 times a year.

  • Comment 17, posted at 13.09.13 12:08:37 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Bring back the Super 12. Strength vs Strength. And add in an u21 Super 12 comp.

  • Comment 18, posted at 13.09.13 12:09:45 by SheldonK Reply

  • Will things really be that different? Yes it will be new and exciting in the beginning years, but who is to say that after 3-4 years we won’t end up in exactly the same position we find our selves now? I’m all for change from the current format, but that has to be positive and promote more quality rather than quantity.

    But in all honesty, one will have to see the proposed format before making judgement. The only thing that worries me is that such a decision will revolve around money at the end of the day.

  • Comment 19, posted at 13.09.13 12:10:00 by Farlington Reply

  • Just go back to something closer than the old S12 than this rubbish S15 using pools or tiers or whatever.

    South Africans like to punt the idea of going North, but would the English and French really want to accommodate additional teams in their competitions? Either they will have to add to an already crowded schedule, or drop local teams from the Heineken cup to add some foreign SA teams – unlikely either way

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.09.13 12:13:05 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : The super 12 format was in my opinion the best of all of them. Those days however are long gone and won’t come back.

  • Comment 21, posted at 13.09.13 12:13:34 by Farlington Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 16) : so let me check…. your answer to this problem is “more rugby”? 🙂

  • Comment 22, posted at 13.09.13 12:13:42 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I would rather do away with two derby games, local teams plays one another only once, one year at home and the next away from home. Retain the conference system but have a two week break between the semi final’s and the final to allow visiting teams time to get over travel fatigue and do away with the 4 points for a bye idea, it serves no purpose.

  • Comment 23, posted at 13.09.13 12:17:45 by Jacques Venter Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 21) : Yeh I agree, too much money and everyone wanted a piece of the pie. but where does it end? Super 18? Super 24? Its not so super anymore. Time and again its shown that Strength v Strength is the best and most supported.

  • Comment 24, posted at 13.09.13 12:24:35 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Jacques Venter (Comment 23) : The problem I have with the conference system is that you may find a team higher on the log due to their position in the conference. I find that to be a BS.

    But yes, do away with two derbies (We see our local teams play against each other 4 times a year)

    4 log points for doing nothing??? My tiny brain cannot make sense of this stupid arrangement.

    And yes on the break between finals. Levels the playing field.

  • Comment 25, posted at 13.09.13 12:25:59 by Farlington Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 20) : They (being the English and the French) have already dropped out of the Heineken cup and they are looking for countries that will join their new club competition.

    It’s now or never. Time to move.

  • Comment 26, posted at 13.09.13 12:27:13 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : @David12246 (Comment 13) :I agree and further those NH pansies only play every second or third week,how they going to cope with the weekly battering.Perhaps Super 14 was best format but let’s see.

  • Comment 27, posted at 13.09.13 12:28:27 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : Well, yes and no. Since S14 ended I have wanted a 2-tier SR, more rugby overall, less per team, win-win

  • Comment 28, posted at 13.09.13 12:29:04 by Die Kriek Reply

  • First prize for me would be a full strenght currie cup and have it supplemented by 2 heineken cup style tournaments.

    One againts nz/oz/arg/jap teams.
    The other againts french/english or even the rejected celtic nations.

    So that restores currie cup to its former glory and we have 2 short international tournaments. Best of both worlds.

  • Comment 29, posted at 13.09.13 12:32:50 by Hammerkop Reply

  • OK so I went through everybody’s comments… Seems we all have the same issue regarding the SR competition… THE FORMAT is wrong!!! If they can fix it we might be happy???
    I tend to think… SA should have BALLS and go north! The only reason the format sucks at the moment is because the aussies seems to use SR as their domestic competition… look how KAK they are now!!! I wont be surprised (actually whish) if the argentines beat them as well tomorrow!!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 13.09.13 12:53:27 by R Hayward Reply

  • @R Hayward (Comment 30) :

    Have penned an article detailing a third option… the GBoGH option.

  • Comment 31, posted at 13.09.13 12:57:13 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • North please for pretty much all the reasons mentioned by others.

  • Comment 32, posted at 13.09.13 14:09:06 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Bring back the super 12!!!

  • Comment 33, posted at 13.09.13 17:22:45 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk

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